I had to chuckle – the co-ordinator at the stroke charity told me the other day that I’d clocked up 100 hours of volunteering. My first thought was, “how on earth did they calculate that?”, which made me smile.
I mean, I volunteer for the stroke charity only once a fortnight, just going around the ward at the local hospital, the ward where I was once a patient. So that’s 26 visits per year. I’ve been volunteering just over 2 years, so, I suppose, 60 visits. 100 hours? That’s about 1½ hours per visit. About right. I mean, I used to have a 2hr slot on the hospital site – buses. Like it or not, I was there 2 hours. Sometimes the drop-ins took that whole 2 hours, other times I was in and out in 30 miutes. These last 6 months, they’ve cut the buses even further, so I’m 1½ hours on site. But certainly in the early days, I often went around the ward on my own, and nobody ever asked me how long it took, although the two most recent co-ordinators usually asked me.
The other thought is that 100 hours is not exactly a lot, is it? Somebody working full-time would do that in a few weeks, although of course, they’re not recovering from a stroke. On the one hand it’d be nice if there was a bit more I could do, but on the other I’m aware that every time I do a drop-in, I’m out of the house for 4 hours, even though the drop-in might take only a fraction of that. So, to the Stroke Association, it might be 100 hours, to me it is more like 300-400. But, not that I begrudge giving the time, far from it, it’s just a shame that such a vast proportion is spent either waiting for, or using, the bus.
It actually works out, quite accidentally, that I’m doing more voluntary work for the Age charity at the moment. I spend about 3 hours doing that every week, so that’s about 150 hours per year (I’ve only been doing it about 5 months so far). I started with the Stroke Association first, but the drop-ins take as long as they take – I can’t bug people into talking to me.
So…the gold watch is in the post, I presume.